5 ways to give yourself a mental break when working from home
Working from home used to be something that many of us dreamed of. We’d envision a stress-free morning of waking up at a reasonable time and not at the crack of dawn.
We’d skip the morning commute in traffic, have a cup of coffee and settle into our work-from-home setup ready to take on the day. No one envisioned a pandemic, homeschooling during the day and working long hours into the night to catch up.
But here we are and we are tired – physically and mentally and, at times, wearing a onesie with the camera off on a Zoom or Hangouts call.
How can we take a break from it all? We spoke to Maggie Adams, HR manager at Radisson Blu Hotel Waterfront, for some advice on how employees can boost their mental health during this time. Here are her five tips.
Keep up the physical activity
Adams notes that it’s easy to slack off on exercise while we are social distancing.
“We’re staying indoors more than ever before and, as a result, many of us aren’t exercising like we used to,” she said. “It’s important to get moving, even if it’s just a 15-minute walk around your block or your house. Moving more and keeping your body as healthy as possible will do wonders for your mental well-being as well.”
Stick to your working hour
Recent reports have shown that many people who are now working from home are finding it difficult to stick to their usual work hours and often work late into the night.
“I often find myself telling our team that they absolutely have to try as far as possible to set boundaries,” says Adams. “A balance is required, and family and personal time is important for mental health.”
Some advice that Adams gives her team is to start the day off strong, sleep well, drink lots of water and start the day positive, A productive day means you won't feel guilty enjoying a family walk, a movie night or even just some time to read a book.
“We’re finding that people are working through lunchtime and forgetting to even eat right now,” says Adams. The usual natural mental breaks of chatting to colleagues over a coffee have also disappeared in some instances.
“So, we keep reminding them and ourselves to take lunch and smaller breaks during the day where we can step away from work and our laptops.”
One way to ensure you take breaks is to time block. Time blocking is where you schedule a certain amount of time to get through as much work as possible. It could be 45 minutes to an hour. Once this time has passed, this is a good time to take a short break, have a coffee or a cup of tea and reset for the next time-blocking session. Setting goals for each session also helps with productivity which, in turn, reduces stress.
We’re all working from home and we have nowhere to go really. As a result, people are just not taking any time off. There’s also some guilt when it comes to taking time off – we’re in a pandemic and we’re in a recession. The economy is struggling, and the chances are that the company you work for is struggling in some way, too.
As a result, taking any time off feels like time wasted when you could be helping generate job-saving revenue. Many people are also thinking “If I can’t go anywhere or do what I really want to do with my leave days, then what’s the point?”. The point is that your mind and body need the break.
“We’re encouraging people to take their leave days,” says Adams. “Now that they can travel interprovincially, it’s easier to unplug and give yourself time to recharge.”
Change your scenery
If you can’t take time off right now, then a change is as good as a holiday, right? Adams certainly believes so.
“You will be amazed at what a change of scenery will do your mental well-being. Consider booking yourself into a hotel. There are amazing views to be had from the rooms, complimentary wi-fi and all the things you need to turn a hotel room into your new work-from-home setup for a day or two.
“At Radisson Blu Hotel Waterfront, you can do all of this while also enjoying the pleasures of in-room dining, ocean view and spa visits. Whatever your choice, give yourself a change, give yourself a break and put yourself first from time to time.”